hiatus

play
noun hi·a·tus \hī-ˈā-təs\

Definition of hiatus

  1. 1a :  a break in or as if in a material object :  gap the weedy hiatus between the town and the railroad — Willa Cather the hiatus between the theory and the practice of the party — J. G. Coltonb biology :  a gap or passage in an anatomical part or organ

  2. 2a :  an interruption in time or continuity :  break; especially :  a period when something (such as a program or activity) is suspended or interrupted after a 5-year hiatus from writing a summer hiatusb :  the occurrence of two vowel sounds without pause or intervening consonantal sound

hiatus was our Word of the Day on 05/13/2012. Hear the podcast!

Examples of hiatus in a Sentence

  1. The band is making an album again after a five-year hiatus.

  2. steam was rising from an hiatus in the ground

Recent Examples of hiatus from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hiatus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Hiatus comes from "hiare," a Latin verb meaning "to gape" or "to yawn," and first appeared in English in the middle of the 16th century. Originally, the word referred to a gap or opening in something, such as a cave opening in a cliff. In the 18th century, Laurence Sterne used the word humorously in his novel Tristram Shandy, writing of "the hiatus in Phutatorius's breeches." These days, "hiatus" is usually used in a temporal sense to refer to a pause or interruption (as in a song), or a period during which an activity is temporarily suspended (such as a hiatus from teaching).

Origin and Etymology of hiatus

Latin, from hiare to yawn — more at yawn


HIATUS Defined for English Language Learners

hiatus

play
noun

Definition of hiatus for English Language Learners

  • : a period of time when something (such as an activity or program) is stopped


Medical Dictionary

hiatus

play
noun hi·a·tus \hī-ˈāt-əs\

Medical Definition of hiatus

  1. :  a gap or passage through an anatomical part or organ; especially :  an opening through which another part or organ passes (such as the opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus and vagus nerves pass)





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